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GALLERY: Annual Dragon Boat Challenge makes a splash at Himley Park

By Dayna Farrington | Dudley | Dudley entertainment | Published:

Crowds turned out to enjoy a dragon boat race in the Black Country as competitors took to the water to raise much-needed funds for charity.

Specially-decorated boats took to Himley Hall’s Great Pool as the 19th annual Dragon Boat Challenge returned yesterday.

A total of 27 teams battled it out in a bid to raise funds for great causes all over the region – including Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre, White House Cancer Support, Street Teams Walsall, the Haven, Sedgley Scorpions and the children’s ward at Russells Hall Hospital.

The race, which involves teams competing in various heats throughout the day, has raised more than £380,000 for charities over the years – and organisers hoped this year’s event would add another £20,000 to the total.

Mike Boyce, chairman of the Dragon Boat Committee at the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton, said: “The Dragon Boat Challenge has been running for 19 years now.

"We’re just inviting teams to come and take part and have a fun day out, while raising funds for good causes.

“We have a total of 27 teams taking part and we usually get between 2,000 to 3,000 people coming out to watch.

"Over the years the challenge has raised more than £380,000 for charities. Hopefully it will be another £20,000 from this weekend’s event.”

Among those taking part was a team from Muras Baker Jones, based in Wolverhampton, raising funds for Heartcare.

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Accountant Jo Fahy said: “We have not taken part in the Dragon Boat Challenge for a good few years, I think we last did it about 11 years ago. I

"t was an opportunity for us to do something together as a work team and raise funds for charity at the same time.

"There’s about 20 of us taking part, of all ages too. It’s a great team-building exercise. Hopefully we don’t capsize!”

John Page, from Paycare, who were taking part dressed up as pirates to raise funds for BLISS, said: “We do it every year. It’s just a nice social event that gets everyone together – it is not very often you get everyone together as a group.

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"It has always been good and a lot of fun. We were through to the semi-finals last year – and we would definitely like to make it to the final this year.

"We are raising funds for Bliss and set ourselves a target of £600, which we have already done.”

The overall winner was announced as Hawkes Home Improvements, who were raising funds for Sedgley Scorpions – followed by the RAF Blue Lions in second place and Capgemini Test The Water in third place.

Mr Boyce added: “It has been fantastic – it has been a superb day and we are very pleased. We are grateful to everyone who came out to watch and those who took part.

“Next year will be our 20th year and we will be trying to make that extra special.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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